Election Story: “Patience” in NYT, “Chaos” in the Post


A hundred years ago, there were forty-eight daily newspapers in New York City. Now there are far fewer, but some range of editorial style persists. Take for example today’s stories on this year’s expected voting turnout:

The New York Times headline: “Elections Board Expects High Turnout and Long Lines, and Asks for Patience.” The New York Post headline: “Vote Chaos: Meltdown Looms at City’s Polls.”

The Times lede is a long, complex sentence informing us that the Board of Elections “is trying to avoid a repeat of the chaos that dogged the last presidential election here” in 2004, when “poll workers were inadequately trained, phone calls went unanswered,” and a few other things.

“Election Day could be D-Day — for disaster,” reads the Post story’s opening sentence, lacking only an exclamation point and a Page Three girl to heighten the excitement. Also, “Worried city election officials are biting their nails…”

The Times‘s tone is almost advisory, telling us that absentee balloting has been rough and allowing a BOE official to ask for our “patience,” as an “unprecedented” number of registrations has clogged the system — though the BOE has manned and equipped up. Later they get to the long-standing beef between the Mayor and the Board.

The Post starts with conflict: last week the Board asked Bloomberg for more money, mayoral aides called it an “unsettling surprise” and warned “the board will have to take the blame for any screw-ups.”

The Post, which has endorsed John McCain, ends almost despairingly, talking of a “crush” of late registrants and the extra effort required of poll-workers, which may discourage attendance in the heavily blue city. The Times, which has endorsed Barack Obama, ends with helpful phone numbers and a web address.

The Daily News has a story about early voting across the nation, comprised mostly of man-in-the-polling-place quotes.